Category Archives: Local Issues

Richard Moore Raises Concerns over Teacher Shortages and College Cuts

There are unfilled vacancies for teachers in key subjects in both the Arbroath secondary schools.
Richard Moore said: “This is a serious concern. Under-staffed departments mean overworked teachers and less contact time for pupils.
If subject choices are limited and exam results suffer, opportunities are affected for a pupil’s lifetime.
We are already facing shortages of certain skills, such as in the trades, and this needs to be addressed.”

Richard is also worried by cuts in courses at the Arbroath campus of Dundee & Angus College.
“When part-time courses are not on offer in Arbroath,” he says, “it’s people with family caring obligations who miss out most.
Travelling to Dundee or Perth is just not an option for them.
Further Education should be within reach for all who want it, regardless of their stage of life or responsibilities.”

Richard Moore Calls for Affordable Housing

Richard Moore wants to see more affordable housing built in rural communities.
The ongoing development in Friockheim should have provided 16 affordable homes but instead, the Council is  letting the developer provide funds for housing elsewhere.
Only the immediate neighbours were consulted – no site notice, no press notice – so hardly anybody knew what was happening.

Richard said, “For rural communities to stay alive, they need housing for young families, and for people wishing to downsize.
‘Commuted sums for development elsewhere’ sounds reasonable, but where is ‘Elsewhere’? Not a rural community I suspect.”

“When local people can’t afford to buy or rent houses in their villages, they have to migrate to the towns. Housing should be built where people choose to live.”

Richard Moore offers solutions to “School Run” parking

Residents near schools have complained to Richard about “school run” parking.
Richard said, “Residents are annoyed at their drives being blocked and road restriction markings being ignored.
Of course parents want their children to get to and from school safely, but we have to make sure that other children are not put at risk by thoughtless parking.”

“There are solutions to address the problem. For example, there are walking buses, ‘Park and Stride’, using a local car park as an assembly point.
We have to raise awareness of the dangers and educate parents about the risks of careless parking.
My aim is to address the problem sensibly without resorting to draconian measures such as parking fines.”

Richard Moore is the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim.

Monifieth Medical Centre Bus Stop

A local resident recently contacted me to bring my attention to the bus stop outside the Monifieth Health Centre on Victoria Street.
The markings on the road next to the bus stop need repainted as the recent roadworks on Victoria Street have removed the word ‘stop’ and part of the word ‘bus’.
I have written to the council about this and sent them a picture of the road, hopefully they will repaint it soon.

bus-stop

Ben Lawrie slams garden waste collection charges

Monifieth & Sidlaw candidate Ben Lawrie has recently spoken out on the new garden waste collection charges introduced by Angus Council labelling them “unfair and ineffective”.
The charges, introduced last month were initially intended to deal with “severe budgetary constraints”, however since their introduction only 1/3 of households have signed up for the service.
Commenting on the lack of uptake, Mr Lawrie said: “With only a third of households in Angus signing up for the new garden waste collection charges it is now clear that this charge is not only unpopular, it’s not working either.”bins

“I fear that the failure of this scheme will lead to a rise in fly-tipping, which will need to be dealt with at a cost to the council, this seems to me a very counter-intuitive result for what was originally supposed to be a money-saver.”

“Talking to people around Angus, the common message I’m getting is that people feel that their council tax should be paying for waste collection and that these new charges are just a back-door tax  imposed by the SNP administration in Angus.”

Stonehaven fails Pollution Safety Limits

Stonehaven is one of only two resorts to fail pollution safety limits this summer, the other being Heads of Ayr in South Ayrshire. These were the only two out of 83 beaches which breached the European Union Bathing Waters Directive according to statistics just published. Failure to meet the requirements put bathers at risk of serious infections. Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor, Peter Bellarby, said: “I am disappointed that Stonehaven has failed to meet the requirements. Stonehaven is a prime tourist destination and the locals too have every right to expect that the sea water is safe. I am glad that electronic signs were put up warning bathers when pollution levels are high but this only happened after there had been a pollution problem on the Maxie Burn. This is the likely cause of the failure to meet the bathing waters standards. It has been most unpleasant for residents with properties alongside Maxie Burn as they have been exposed to raw sewage. Scottish Water has been working to remedy the problem on the Maxie Burn but this does involve putting a new pipe under the railway line. I realise that this is not an easy task but I have urged Scottish Water to complete the works as soon as possible.

“It is particularly unfortunate that this failure to meet the bathing waters standards has come at a time when we are seeking to improve tourist facilities and attractions in the town such as a greatly enhanced caravan park. I very much hope and expect, though, that Stonehaven will meet the bathing waters stand next season. Scottish Water and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency do need to be vigilant and respond quickly when a problem arises.”

Firm friends will make the move to new care home together

It has provided many happy memories for many people over 60 years, and a new chapter is soon to begin in the life of Edenholme Care Home in Stonehaven – and in the lives of two good friends.

Work on a new care village in School Road, including a 60 place care home and eight one-bed cottages, will soon be complete, with Edenholme residents moving to the site before the end of the year.

The new home, which doubles the number of existing residential care places, offers older people who need care an excellent quality of life in a 21st Century environment, with a skilled and caring team of staff.

Amongst those making the move to the new Edenholme are Margaret McRae and Margaret Frater, who met 10 years ago while attending Dunnottar Church.

Margaret Frater (92) took the decision to move into Edenholme three years ago, after developing an illness. The Stonehaven-born former midwife, who was still living in her Christie Crescent home, felt the time had come where she needed that little bit extra care and help and soon settled into a new lifestyle at Edenholme.

She said: “I do miss my own house and garden but being looked after and having all my meals made for me seems like heaven. We are like a big happy family here.

“Nearly three years have passed since then and we are all looking forward to the new home. En-suite accommodation will be wonderful and larger wardrobes and bedrooms are a must.”

Margaret McRae (85) used to visit Margaret Frater at Edenholme, before declining health also led her to make the decision to move in.

She said: “Since living here, it has been very good and everyone has been wonderful. All the staff and mangers are very approachable and when I went into hospital for a short period, it was so nice to return to Edenholme and to see everyone again.

“I am looking forward to moving into the new home as I will have my own en-suite bathroom and a bigger bedroom.”

The friends, who bonded over their shared experiences of living and working in Bournemouth, also praised the way the home is managed, saying they always feel informed and involved in the life of the home.

Margaret Frater explained: “Regular residents’ meetings give us the opportunity to raise any problems or complaints that we have and we can say what we feel; we all have our own opinions about our lives in Edenholme.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee, Councillor Karen Clark, said: “It’s great to hear such positive comments from our residents about how much they are looking forward to moving into the new care home. I am sure they will be delighted with the end result when they move in and get settled.

“There is no doubt that it will be a first class facility, offering residents personal choice, more control over their daily routines and a good quality of life.”

Vice-chair of the committee, Councillor Alisan Norrie, added: “This development has been years in the making and to see it coming to fruition is very exciting.

“I’m sure all the residents at Edenholme have happy memories of their time there, but will be looking forward to settling in and creating new memories at the School Road facility.”

Councillor Peter Bellarby said: “It is really good to see a new care home in Stonehaven with all the facilities expected by today’s standards. The residents of Edenholme have something to look forward to in their move to their new home.”

Margaret McRae and Margaret Frater

Margaret McRae and Margaret Frater

Eight one-bed cottages are also being built on the site to increase the care options available to residents and help people maintain their independence in their own homes for as long as they choose, in a supportive environment.

The care home has been fully funded by Aberdeenshire Council’s capital plan and will produce an asset in the region of £8million whilst the cottages have received support from a Scottish Government grant of £240,000 as well as the Housing Revenue Account and second homes council tax.

Titantic Exhibition at the Tolbooth

Folklore has it that the headlines in the Press&Journal when reporting the sinking of the Titanic was:-
“North East Man Drowns at Sea”

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this month the Tolbooth museum is holding an exhibition about the Titanic and its connection with the North East of Scotland.

A local model maker from Newtonhill, Andy Bain, has kindly loaned his large models of the Titanic, one to the Maritime Museum in Aberdeen and one to the Tolbooth. The one at the Tolbooth has portholes which light up.

The emphasis of the Tolbooth display will be on the fact that perhaps the headlines in the P&J should have been
“North East Man Does Not Drown at Sea”

Part of the exhibit illustrates the controversial story about the rescue of a prominent North East Landowner, Sir Cosmos Duff Gordon, his wife Lucie Christiana and her secretary, Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli.

The displays in the Tolbooth Museum have been completely revamped for the coming season and include Law and Order. A jail has been built to replicate the period when the Tolbooth was the County Court and Jail. There are displays about RW Thompson, the famous Stonehaven inventor, and local geology with the new model of the fossil Pneumodesmus Newmani found at Cowie.

In addition to the many artefacts provided by Aberdeenshire Museums Service and with thanks to a major local benefactor, Jim Bruce, of Bruce Bygones there is a magnificent display of home and country life throughout the 20th Century. Fishing, Fireballs and the connection with Dunnottar Castle, churches and Old Stonehaven are all represented. There is also a small gift shop and a dinosaur quiz for children.

The Summer opening hours are:
April Fri. – Mon. inclusive 1.30-4.30 pm
May- Sept. Wed. – Mon. inclusive 1.30-4.30pm

From the end of May 2011 till the end of December 2011 there were about 10500 visitors. George Strang, the Management Committee member responsible for the displays said: “I think it would be fair to say that at least 75-80% were tourists. This year we would like to increase significantly the number of local visitors to the Museum . Hence the revamp and our intention to have rotating displays about schooling, Robert Burns’ Father, The Open Air Pool and other aspects of Local Heritage.”

The Tolbooth group are very keen to have the various groups, societies and clubs in the Mearns area visit the Tolbooth and would be prepared to open the Tolbooth by arrangement outwith our stated hours to accommodate the needs of the interested parties. Any group interested in visiting the museum should contact George; contact details are on the Group’s web site:
Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum

George continued: “We have an excellent group of volunteers who help us to keep the museum open 6 days per week in the summer. However we try not over commit our existing volunteers, many of whom assist other groups with voluntary efforts.

“We therefore are always on the lookout for additional help. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer contact me or better still visit the Tolbooth and talk to the volunteers on duty. I am positive that you will be surprised at the enjoyment and satisfaction that they get out of it. We have Curator Notes at the museum and therefore specialist knowledge is not a requirement of being a volunteer. The only commitment is being available, say, once or twice a month and the ability to talk to and listen to the visitors. It becomes addictive.”

What has Peter Bellarby and the Lib Dem led Administration of Aberdeenshire Council done?

We are listening to you …

YOU asked us to do something about


Bervie Braes

… Aberdeenshire Council is providing £1m towards the
cost of improving the stability and drainage of the Braes
to prevent landslips in the future. The work has gone out
to tender and will be completed in 2012.

YOU asked for better Secondary Schools
… the new Portlethen Academy was opened in 2006,
including a public library, a community centre, and
indoor sports and recreation facilities. Work on the
detailed planning for a new Mearns Academy is
underway.

YOU asked for improved Primary Schools
… A new Drumoak School is in the Council’s capital plan,
and land acquisition is under consideration. Lairhillock
was opened in 2007.

YOU asked for action on Stonehaven Town Hall
… The Council helped in the bid which won £225,000 to
make the building wind and watertight. This enabled the
formation of the Stonehaven Town Hall Trust, a voluntary
and apolitical group, which will take over management
of the building.

YOU asked that older people have up-todate care facilities
… a new care village with a 60-bed care home together
with eight sheltered houses has been planned for
Stonehaven and is now under construction. This
represents a significant increase in the capacity in the
Stonehaven area to care for the older generation.

YOU asked that development in and around Stonehaven respects the local character
… Bids for large housing estates have been rejected.
The level of development agreed for the next five-year
planning period is only 408 houses. Similarly in the
Drumoak area, a large bid to redevelop local quarries
was not accepted.

LOCAL, LISTENING , DELIVERING

Peter Bellarby welcomes new Council housing at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk

Local Lib Dem Councillor Peter Bellarby has welcomed the completion of the new council housing at Stonehaven and Laurencekirk.

Councillor Bellarby said: “I am pleased to see tenants moving into their new homes. This goes a small way towards meeting the housing needs of the area and dealing with the large waiting list we have in Aberdeenshire.”

He spoke at the recent Scottish Liberal Democrat party conference in Inverness on Scotland’s housing crisis and the need for the Scottish Government to reverse the 30% cut it recently made to its housing budget.

Cllr Bellarby said: “Aberdeenshire is widely seen as prosperous, even affluent, but there are also many in desperate need of housing. More than 7000 people are on the housing list in Aberdeenshire. People sometimes approach me and expect that I can somehow wave some kind of magic wand and get them higher up the list. I can’t. We have a points system and we must stick to that.”

Cllr Bellarby said that the most pressing need was for social housing for rent. He said: “The Scottish Government must provide funds to help the Council and social landlords build more houses.”

David Fleming, who is standing with Peter Bellarby as a Lib Dem candidate in the council elections on May 3, added: “We need to get the waiting list down and address the very real problems that many people face in finding a suitable home.”